Twitter: Telling Fired Journalists to ‘Learn to Code’ Is ‘Targeted Harassment’

Twitter Chairman and Square CEO Jack Dorsey moderates a panel discussion with Detroit entrepreneurs at Techonomy Detroit at Wayne State University September 17, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The topic of the discussion was 'Turbocharging Detroit's Teconomy.' (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty, Bill Pugliano/Getty

Twitter recently stated that telling laid-off journalists to “learn to code,” a reference to the media’s advice to laid-off workers in blue-collar jobs, is “targeted harassment.”

Recently, a number of journalists across multiple outlets were fired as part of mass layoffs; BuzzFeed was one of the most prominent outlets affected by this with many of their journalists finding themselves jobless and taking to Twitter to request new employment. The resounding response to journalists on social media a was a simple reply: “Learn to code.”

The sarcastic reply was a reference to a number of articles written by publications which derided blue-collar workers who feared that they may lose their jobs as a result of automation and artificial intelligence. At the time of writing, journalists encouraged these workers to learn to code as that is seemingly where the future of employment lies. Some of these articles were compiled in a tweet which can be seen below:

Now, Twitter has ruled that telling journalists to learn to code is “targeted harassment.” A Twitter spokesperson stated that the situation was “nuanced” but that telling laid-off journalists to “learn to code” could be considered “targeted harassment.” The spokesperson told Breitbart News: “It’s more nuanced than what was initially reported. Twitter is responding to a targeted harassment campaign against specific individuals — a policy that’s long been against the Twitter Rules.”

Interestingly, Twitter does not consider the repeated calls of violence against the students of Covington Catholic High School to be targeted harassment. Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan’s referral to Jewish people as “termites” also did not violate the sites targeted harassment rules. Tweets about the Covington school kids such as “LOCK THE KIDS IN THE SCHOOL AND BURN THAT B*TCH TO THE GROUND,” were allowed on Twitter’s platform; as was Farrakhan’s video of a speech he gave in which he stated “So when they talk about Farrakhan, call me a hater, you know they do, call me an antisemite — stop it! I’m anti-termite! I don’t know nothing about hating somebody because of their religious preference.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan_ or email him at


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